Guided by jockey Jerry Bailey for the first time, Juddmonte Farms' homebred Chester House unleashed a powerful rally along the rail through the stretch to earn a 3 1/4-length victory in the $2-million Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) Saturday at Arlington International. Over the yielding turf, the 5-year-old son of Mr. Prospector completed the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.37. Manndar finished second, a half-length ahead of 26-1 Mula Gula. Slight favorite Bienamado came home fourth, followed by Asidero, Running Stag, and Slickly.
Bailey is the sixth different jockey to ride Chester House since the Bobby Frankel trainee transferred to the United States for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) last fall. In his seventh North American race, Chester House earned his first victory since the Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Eng-III) in June of last year. Chester House, out of the El Gran Senor mare Toussaud, earned $1.2-million for the win, his sixth in 21 career starts. The winners' share of the purse brings his career bankroll to $1,937,356.
Asidero set an honest pace of :47.73 for the opening half-mile while establishing a five-length lead on the backstretch. The field bunched up as they approached the second turn with Asidero's margin down to a half-length over Running Stag after six furlongs run in 1:11.85. As they raced into the stretch, Asidero, Running Stag, Slickly, and Bienamado were stretched across the track with Chester House and Manndar bottled up behind them. Asidero came off the rail just enough for Bailey to squeeze Chester House through and the horse exploded through the stretch for the win.
"You never know until the moment of truth whether you can get through the hole. And the older you are, the smaller the holes are,'' said Bailey. "You either make it or not. That's when you look like a hero or a goat. The question is whether you have enough acceleration to get through. You know the hole won't stay open too (long). There was room enough for one horse.''
The Million marks the second grade I stakes win on the day for Bailey, who also rode Snow Polina to victory in the $500,000 Beverly D Stakes.
Sent off as the fourth choice in the betting, Chester House returned $9.60, $4.40, and $3.40. Manndar paid $4 and $3. Mula Gula was worth $4.60. The exacta paid $41.80.
Prior to Satuday's 18th running of the Arlington Million, Frankel had saddled 12 runners in the race and no winners. "I was thinking all along: I can't win the big one," said Frankel. "We did what we had to do. We won a Grade 1 with a superior horse. He made a perfect run today." (Chart, Equibase